Well this all started 2 years ago, when I approached Dan Jones and Gavin Hutchinson at a competition and asked if their club would be interested in hosting the UKBR22 Nationals. Sadly due to a failure in communications the 2019 Nationals did not take place at Derby but at short notice Portishead Shooting Club stepped in and saved the day.
So a long story short, Dan became the Chairman of the Derby club and plans started to be actioned to hold the 2020 Nationals at Derby.
Derby Rifle and Pistol Club 1999 dove headlong into this and showed their commitment by purchasing 14 benches to allow them to hold the competition. Thing started moving and soon it was at the point of no return, and then, COVID19 stepped in to make things problematic.
Myself the UKBR22 committee and Dan and the Derby committee all agreed that we should carry on, as it would be much easier to cancel the comp than try to arrange it at short notice.
Once the ranges started re-opening it was all systems go, entry forms sent out, last minuet meeting to make sure we could cope with the Covid restrictions and keep the range safe and the competitors safe as well. Last minuet delivery of the 14 benches. All systems go it next weekend.
The Thursday came and as normal I did not manage to get away from work at the planned time so arrived late to find Dan and the Derby boys had almost got everything sorted. Just a hand full of jobs to do on Friday morning due to the wind and rain stopping play on Thursday afternoon.
Friday morning found the last minuet setting up on the range, this held up a couple of competitors who had turned up to practice. In a moment of shear madness Dan thought we should run a 3 card comp due to low numbers of entries (dam Covid again), so Friday afternoon was spent making sure everybody was shooting and not falling over themselves in the process. Right lets get the cards marked up and head for the hotel.
COMP DAY, bright and early to the range to check in and see if anything needed doing, before a well-earned bacon roll. Now the well-known faces started turning up, gear started being stacked on the ranges and we all started getting our game faces on.
Saturday would prove to be tricky, with medium to strong winds and the odd bit of rain thrown in just to keep us on our toes. This was the first time I had entered the Air Rifle side of the Nationals and boy did it show. I would not have believed how far a pellet could move over 25m if I had not seen it myself. Hats off to the air lads. I have shot air rifle indoors and had some success but outdoors is a different game altogether.
After showing myself up with the air rifles it was on to Rimfire Light Varmint at 25m (also outdoors) this is normally shot indoors but, as Derby’s ranges are all outdoors it would be a pleasant change for us all. At this I did a lot better. Now for the long distance side, well 50m Light Varmint. Well what do you know, it’s now raining as well as windy. Round 2, after just 8 scoring targets I reloaded my rifle looked through my sights to look at a naked plywood board full of holes, my card had blown down, Looks like I am about to shoot an unexpected detail.
The days shooting over it was time for the scores to be finalised and get things ready for the Heavy Varmint day tomorrow. Scores in and competition cards all sorted, I left Dan and Gavin planning their liquid supper.
Sunday morning, vacated hotel and arrived at the range early to find Dan and Gavin looking delicate and afraid of loud noises. Still the show must go on as they say, so after some strong coffee and bacon rolls we were all set to do it again.
This time it was the air rifle that would cause me problems. Again my second card, again after about 8 or 9 targets down, the problems started, I was losing power and dropping pellets in low. I tried to dial into the last shot (did not do very well at this) and then pulled the trigger on target 23 and the rifle let go of what air was remaining in the cylinder.
In a show of sportsmanship Richard Collins came to my rescue and put holes in my last 2 targets, thus saving me from losing another 20 points. Thank you Richard.
On to the 25m HV Rimfire. Richard Healey had set the bar high, while we had been shooting air rifles, so we had to go some to beat him, which no one did, his score stood the test of time and he won gold.
Back to the 50m range now for the last part, we the last few agreed to shoot back to back detail and shorten the day by a little. Off we go, grate start, going well dropped a point, picked up, dropped a point on the last target. Second card, worse, 4 points lost. Well last chance to be a hero, no one has shot a 250 on the 50m range all weekend. Half way through the card the wind dropped (golden rule outdoors, never shoot when there is no wind) then the wind picked back up. Down to target 24, nailed it now running on 240, just one more 10, come on. Wind changed, onto the sighters, one round then 2 then 3 then 4, 3 10’s and an X, across to target 25 aim off watch the wind, good, pull the trigger and just clipped the 10 ring. Will it be a 250, YES it was. No sooner had I pulled the trigger than the range was made safe and the targets collected for scoring. What a weekend.
I would like to thank all the members of Derby Rifle and pistol Club on behalf of the UKBR22 committee and I am sure from all the competitors as well, for give up their time over the course of the weekend to help R.O. the details and make the competition run smoothly. A Big Thank You.
I would also like to thank everyone who turned up to help make this weekend something to remember. I myself have missed meeting up with fellow shooters and having a good time. Lets hope we can get back to some sort or normal very soon.
Due to the low number of entries and the low number of UKBR22 members present, the usual Annual General Meeting was not held on the Saturday night. This will be rescheduled shortly and notification sent to the members.